My mom always used to tell me to “pack a Q-TIP”, which is an acronym for “quit taking it personally.” I would always roll my eyes at the cheesy Mom-ism, but it has become a mental staple for me. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the date who never called back, the boss who is breathing down my neck, or the client who is being a good old fashioned pain in the ass. The fact is, everyone has his or her own issues that get projected onto others, and there’s nothing we can do about that.
DATING: We’re all familiar with the possibility that someone’s “just not that into you.” Does that mean you did something wrong? Said something wrong? Wore the wrong shade of eyeshadow? Forget that! Last summer I dated someone whom I really wanted to like; he was a cute, fun, aspiring firefighter who loves his dog, his friends, and the outdoors. What’s not to like? The sad, inescapable fact was that I wasn’t into him, and there was nothing either one of us could do about it.
WORK: Recently, I’ve had issues with my boss. There are times when I am sure that she is singling me out and going out of her way to not acknowledge the good things I do for the company. The reality is that she is pregnant and hormonal, quite possibly bipolar, and her attitude has nothing to do with me. All I can do is try my best and remind myself that the problems she seems to have with me aren’t my problems at all.
OTHER: The guy in the Prius ahead of you is driving 48 miles an hour in the fast lane, so you’re late for work. Then, you spend half your lunch break in line behind the lady who can’t decide what she wants on her sandwich and pays with a check. And after work, you find out that someone dinged your car door in the parking lot. Here’s the good news: the world is NOT out to get you! These people did not get together for happy hour and make a pact to ruin your day.
In the end, most situations and people’s attitudes have nothing to do with you. Granted, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, if you are generally regarded as a heinous douchebag, you should take people’s disdain personally. Fortunately, if you really are a heinous douchebag, you probably don’t care. Otherwise, revise your morning checklist: keys, phone, wallet, Q-TIP.